Who Said the Dark Side Was Bad?
Great heroes and villains are often equally alluring. To paraphrase Woody Allen, “I always knew I was different because while everyone fell in love with Snow White, I immediately went for the wicked queen.” Daft Punkâ€šÃ„Ã´s ascendancy to heroic status in French house was finalized when Discovery created a robotic utopia for all to live, play and dance freely within. The immediacy of â€šÃ„â€ by fellow French duo Justice announces the darker, maybe even better side to the euphoria; the results are astounding.With an opening equivalent to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars, “Genesis” sets an intimidating tone with a stomping groove set ablaze by ’70s funk guitar and popping bass as mid-range melodies create music that could inspire pop’n’locking and headbanging in equal parts, if not simultaneously. This darker disco augmented with static crunches and grinding synth effects that seem to tear through the mix is Gaspard AugâˆšÂ© and Xavier de Rosnayâ€šÃ„Ã´s M.O. â€šÃ„â€ has it by the boatload.
Cuts like “Let There Be Light,” “New Jack” and both parts of “Phantom” propel forward with almost demonic fury while clattering, chainsaw-like synth groans working in a construction-through-deconstruction manner similar to how a hip-hop DJ would use a record scratch. Justice take these ideals to their apocalyptic extreme on tracks like “Stress,” “Waters of Nazareth” and especially “One Minute to Midnight,” where the noise freakouts cut back and forth from a minimalist, organic beat and a bass synth groove.
Not all is dark on â€šÃ„â€ , however. The immediate smash “D.A.N.C.E.” will stick in listeners’ heads like gum to the bottom of a table; singalong lyrics like “Do the D-A-N-C-E / 1-2-3-4 Fight!” could definitely make The Go! Team a bit jealous. Couple that with the oddly sweet and melodic “Valentine” in the midst of all of the darkness (from the music to the ominous album artwork) and it adds up to one of the best albums of 2007.